When I drive straight from the airport after a 24 hour transit and 6am landing (and use two of my 12 hours in Melbourne before heading off again on another trip) to feast my heart out somewhere, you know there’s something pretty special about it. Especially when the place has only been open for a day so hasn’t had time to build up a track record (and when you consider that I have recently opened my own cafe too so could easily eat there), you can see how badly I wanted to get around the new kid on the block, Fourth Chapter. As a devout foodie who has eaten her way around the world, I have relatively high food standards but also bring some super annoying menu-changing tendencies, dietary intolerances and clean eating preferences when I dine. I wouldn’t say I’m hard to please (since I love food so much that I’m just happy to be eating), but I would say it’s hard to get a 10/10 out of me. It is undoubtedly impossible to open a place that pleases every single palate, but if I had to name a place that has perfected it for me personally this would be it.
Opened by two of my dear friends (and one of their sisters) who have joined forces, you might say I’m biased but I can assure you that friendship doesn’t cloud my judgment when it comes to where I eat. It definitely makes me more open minded and more vocal in my support if friends or family are behind something (we obviously love supporting loved ones), but I won’t go back over and over to eat anywhere unless I truly enjoy it (just because food is more important to me than most things). I’ve been back enough times already in the few short weeks since Fourth Chapter opened to have sussed out my favourite table for lighting (the white table up front with natural light flooding in the window), favourite dish (“The Bowl” – no surprises once you see the pics below), favourite hot drink (matcha latte, obvi), cold drink (matcha smoothie, again obvi) and best time of day to visit to avoid the queues (because, yes, there are already queues). So even though I would come regularly just to catch up with the lovely co-founders Sarah (aka @breakfast.with.sarah also of Trei Cafe glory) and Kik (aka @k_rocchi of The Edible Image/White Label Protein), I’ve missed no opportunities to give the menu a good thrashing too.
Coming back to my fave dish, The Bowl, I’ve ordered it every single time because it’s my dream brekky – a little bit of everything (I’m also known as “Queen of the sides” because I always build my own brekky from the sides menu). But I’ve also had a chance to taste several other dishes and what I love about The Bowl applies to just about everything else I’ve tried too – the dishes are all super generously portioned (which is uncommon but very welcome on the Melbourne brekky scene), crazily delicious with a beautiful balance of flavours (but without leaving you feeling heavy) and insanely Instagrammable (because that’s clearly a top priority these days). It’s a surprisingly extensive menu with choices ranging from mega #cleaneating (i.e. The Bowl) to more indulgent (i.e. peanut butter waffles with salted caramel and grilled banana), conventional to quirky (beetroot and cheddar waffle), hot to cold (i.e. the acai bowl with THE most delicious toppings), larger to smaller, etc. The presentation is particularly outstanding and innovative – everything is colourful and beautifully arranged with impeccable finishing touches (i.e. three big fat perfect spheres of peanut butter on top of the acai bowl).
The dishes I’ve tried and would highly recommend are:
- The Bowl // brown rice, golden hommus, pickled cabbage, roast pumpkin, avocado, cherry tomatoes, kale, spicy peanut sauce (I add a poached egg)
- Pumpkin Salad // roasted pumpkin, kale, sesame, edamame, avocado, pepitas, miso & house mayo
- Acai Bowl // with coyo, berries, granola, peanut butter w. Vanilla Whey Protein
- Raspberry Granola // with oats, buckinis, raspberries, hazelnuts & almonds w. coconut pannacotta & berries
- Paleo bread // add this to every dish, it is phenom.com!
See the full menu HERE.
For those who also frequent Trei Cafe, there are indeed a few similarities between dishes and you can see the much-loved paleo bread has also made its way here (which I am SO pleased about, as it is much closer to home). But, there are also many new (and more numerous) creations on the menu plus the place itself has a very different vibe and decor, so don’t assume you’ve seen it all before. I’d highly recommend a visit, even if only for the food alone. But on top of great dining, even in busier times, service has always been warm and attentive, the interior is filled with natural light and homely greenery and there’s even a courtyard out the back overlooking the neighbouring park. Win! There are a few seats out on the footpath too, where I’ve seen many a cute dog settle in for a weekend morning and the staff bring out blankets to keep you warm since the weather has turned so nasty lately! I’ve also never had trouble parking nearby, which is an added bonus, as there’s nothing more frustrating than walking miles to get to your brekky location when you’re hangry! Definitely head in to visit, it’s a must!
385 High Street, Prahran
Open M-F 7am-4pm, weekends 8am-4pm